Prospects for the bamboo industry shined bright during the recent Mindanao Bamboo Summit held 19 January 2021  at the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Conference Hall on 19 January 2021 in Cagayan de Oro City where key stakeholders and representatives of various agencies met in-person. A virtual conference followed later in the afternoon for the benefit of other participants who were unable to join the in-person event.

Initiated by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) through its Green Mindanao Project, the in-person meeting was attended by MinDA Chairman Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, DBP President Emmanuel G. Herbosa, Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corp. Chairman Rod Bioco, and key stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

“We cannot continue to exploit our forests and natural resources without an aggressive effort to replenish, reinvigorate and heal the ecological and environmental wounds,” Piñol said in a statement.

MinDA Secretary Manny Piñol leads a symbolic planting of a bamboo seedling with Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corp. Chairman Rod Bioco. (photo supplied)

Bamboos provide a range of social, cultural, and environmental benefits for society. Bamboo is a natural resource which can develop under a variety of climatic conditions, but ideally a tropical one. It contains around 35 per cent more oxygen and consumes 40 per cent more carbon dioxide compared to trees, resulting in a major change in air quality. Increasing infrastructure development investment and consumer awareness about benefits of bamboo can boost the market of bamboo over the medium and long term.

DBP President Herbosa committed in behalf of the bank the amount of P1.2 billion to fund the development of the industry following the signing of a Pledge of Commitment by key stakeholders.

“ My presentation demonstrated the proposed main components of the Mindanao Bamboo Value Chain involving 100 plantations with around 1,000 hectares each spread over 30 kilometers radius, 100 postharvest facilities, and 20 manufacturing plants,” said Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corporation Chairman Roderico Bioco, one of the key organizers of the event, following his presentation on the current state and prospect of the Mindanao Bamboo Industry.

The BGB Corporation has established a bamboo processing facility in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and is currently buying Giant Bamboo poles from farmers in the area.

“Corresponding investments require P120-million per 1,000 hectare plantation (total P12-Billion), P150-million per bamboo postharvest facility (total P15B), and P1B per bamboo manufacturing facility (total P20B), grand total of P47B investments, ”Bioco added.  “Revenue that can be generated from these facilities can be more than P112.5B, not including yet the by-products and cottage industry that can be derived from the fall-downs, shoots, etc.”

The global bamboos market was valued at USD $72,102.4 Million in 2019 and is expected to reach over USD $98,757.9 Million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of around 5.5% during the forecast period from 2020 to 2026, according to an estimate by Research and Markets posted in the Intrado Global Newswire website.

The P1.2B seed money sourced form DBP’s Forest Program will be utilized for the establishment of a post-harvest facility in eight initial bamboo cluster sites located in major river basins, according to Piñol.

“Central to the development of the bamboo industry are postharvest facilities,” Bioco noted. “Untreated and improperly dried, bamboo has little or no value. Postharvest is the least desirable component of the value chain due to its capital intensive nature with small operating margins.”

He further noted how government has previously neglected establishing postharvest in many agriculture sectors especially rice and corn. But without industrial scale postharvest, we cannot build up our local bamboo industry to global market, otherwise our bamboo remains a backyard industry, he added.

“If we ask farmers to plant bamboo, we should have adequate postharvest harvested,” Bioco stressed. “This is why government support is critical, especially in access to finance. Hence DBP is needed to capitalize properly the postharvest facility to connect the chain.”

A key output of the summit was the organization of the Mindanao Bamboo Industry Council to promote the greening of Mindanao’s critical watersheds and headwaters and tapping the vast potential of the bamboo industry. Composed of representatives from local governments and private sector, the council will oversee the implantation of the program.

“The previous Philippine Bamboo Industry Road Map failed to clearly conceptualize the bamboo value chain and how each component is linked together in terms of technical components, investment, and revenues. Doing so would highlight the magnitude of investment for postharvest facilities,” Bioco noted.

Since Sec. Piñol envisions scaling up the program to 1 million hectares in 10 years, the investment needed will be 10 times more,” he added. “If planting proceeds without the corresponding investments in postharvest and manufacturing facilities, most of the bamboo will remain unharvested in the plantations with most  just ending up as fencing material.”


Featured photo:

Signing the Pledge of Commitment held 19 January 2021 at the DBP Regional Office, Cagayan de Oro City to support the Philippine and Mindanao Bamboo Industry and adhere to the Principles and Strategies set forth in the National Bamboo Road Map and Mindanao 2030. (L-R): Mark Lemuel Garcia, DAP Director, Mindanao; Antonio Uy, former PCCI AVP for Mindanao, Region X Governor and Oro Chamber President; Emmanuel G. Herbosa, DBP President; Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, MinDA; Roderico Bioco, RG PCCI-X; and Ruben A. Vegafria, Oro Chamber President. (photo supplied)

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